4 areas of digital innovation set to transform business
4 areas of digital innovation set to transform business
The use of digital solutions to help improve digitisation, or business operations, can help Australian business compete on a local or even global scale. The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) highlighted technology as a key area of opportunity and risk for businesses in its 2023 Small Business Perspective Report.
So, keeping up with digital innovation can help you create a competitive edge. New technologies can help you create efficiencies and empower employees. They can also help you create a better experience for your customers.
Here are four technology-focused ideas to explore for your business.
Digital learning platforms can make upskilling easier
Access to the right digital skills can be a key enabler for the successful adoption of new technology solutions. You can develop your own skills, hire, or access outsourced support.
Demand for online education is growing and so is the range of digital learning options available. You can explore professional development to boost your own skills or create training opportunities that can upskill your team.
Digital learning platforms provide access to many courses online. These range from micro-credentials to online postgraduate degrees. They can offer flexible access to relevant short courses and certifications, with materials and lessons available when it suits you.
Some platforms enable you to create and manage your own training courses. This may be useful if you have specific training needs.
As you build your own digital skills, you’ll also become more effective at identifying where you might benefit from help. Having at least a basic understanding of key topics will make it easier for you to engage the external experts for outsourced or professional services when you need them.
Artificial intelligence can help you boost productivity
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a broad term used to describe a collection of technologies able to solve problems and perform tasks without direct human involvement.
It has the potential to help people in businesses of all sizes be more productive. It can take on simple, time-consuming tasks and free people to work on more creative and rewarding activities.
Some examples of AI use in business include:
- Real-time chatbots to assist customer support or sales.
- Automated responses to customer enquiries.
- Virtual assistants that answer questions and complete orders.
AI-enabled tools are also becoming common features in productivity software. Check your business apps to see if they provide the opportunity to experiment with AI.
When exploring how AI might benefit your business it’s important to consider how to use it responsibly. This means considering potential unintended impacts on your team and customers and how you can help ensure the privacy and security of your information.
Reading the AI Ethics Framework developed by the Australian Government is a great place to start.
Internet of Things (IoT) can help improve operational efficiency
Small businesses can use the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve operations. IoT-based solutions connect devices, equipment, and assets into one system. You can then collect and analyse data to inform decision-making or automate business processes.
These solutions make it easier to monitor and control your devices, machinery and equipment. By giving you more visibility over your asset efficiency, IoT can help you find ways to lower your operating costs or provide a better experience for your customers.
There are many other uses for IoT in business. They include:
- Track and control energy use with smart thermostats and lighting.
- Monitor temperature, air and water quality, or other environmental conditions.
- Track in-store footfall and interaction with products to help you understand customer preferences.
- Monitor stock levels in real time.
- Improve fleet efficiency by analysing vehicle use, driver routes and vehicle wear and tear.
- Improve experiences with augmented and virtual reality.
For example, a logistics company could use IoT sensors to monitor asset location. They could track deliveries and send automatic updates to their customers. This in turn could help them reduce losses and offer customers a better experience.
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can help you create engaging experiences
Augmented Reality (AR) adds 3D animations, live videos, useful markers and personalised tags to your smartphone screen to make exploring a location more convenient and more fun.
An emerging area of innovation is AR wayfinding. This can help enhance digital customer experiences by acting as a guide superimposing digital information onto a real-world environment.
AR experiences will continue to evolve in coming years, with investment into developing applications suitable for indoor and outdoor spaces such as stadiums and in store. For businesses in areas such as entertainment, retail or trade shows and exhibitions, AR wayfinding will open new opportunities to create engaging experiences.
Another area where experiences can be uplifted is training and support. Virtual Reality (VR) simulations can enable people to learn new skills in an engaging and accessible way.
Vantari VR, a pioneer in the VR training space won the New South Wales Embracing Innovation Award at the 2023 Telstra Best of Business Awards. Vantari helps clinicians, nurses and students practice lifesaving medical procedures in a safe and scalable virtual reality environment before performing them on real patients. Its mission is to eliminate medical error and improve patient outcomes.
Continue your innovation journey
These are just some of the areas where technology innovations can create opportunities to support your business goals. You might want to start something new, become more efficient, or find new ways to scale up and grow your business.
Thinking about how you can build innovation into your business strategy will help make sure you keep an eye on how opportunities are developing. And by staying on top of key trends you’ll be able to identify the best approach for your business and act at the right time for you.
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